Should SEO Standards Exist?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 by Mistlee

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Should SEO Standards Exist?

By Stephen Pitts

Background: There has always been a lot of mystery surrounding the online marketing industry especially Search Engine Optimization. There are even some that consider the efforts of SEO as selling " snake oil" and even some discredit the industry as a whole because of perceived SEO practices that will get your website blacklisted.

Chris Boggs at Search Engine Watch wrote on the topic, called for standards to be adopted and outlined steps to build these standards based upon 1. definition, 2. risk and 3. education. I think that these are all valid and could be a useful tool for accountability for marketers.

The Heat of the Game
Recently, Jill Whalen sited her own feelings regarding the topic in an editorial at Search Engine Land and Lisa Barone from Bruce Clay fired back. Based upon the voting on Sphinn about each of these posts at the time of writing this post here are the breakdowns:

• No - 56 Sphinns
• Yes - 51 Sphinns

If you break this down a bit further, a realistic look at the online marketing community can be visualized:

(total unique voters are counted, votes for both are marked as undecided)

• No - 35 or 41%
• Yes - 30 or 35%
• Undecided - 21 or 24%
• Total Votes - 86

I think that the split within the industry is pretty consistent with these.

I know, many of you are probably saying "but you haven't answered the question!"

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OK! I hear you!

I have to be perfectly up front, I land right on the fence on this issue, but don't get me wrong, I feel that there are compelling arguments on both sides. I think that there is a need for any business consulting to hold itself to specific standards that are above questionable practices, but in that same respect our industry is held to standards that are maintained by independent entities (search engines) that are not publishing the specific rules of engagement for optimal performance. In fact, each of the engines have differing views as to what is more important, so this makes it extremely difficult to lay out specific standards for everyone to subscribe to.

Similar to the medical industry, there are adopted principles and practices that are approved by industry resources like the American Medical Association. Even though all of the secrets of the human body have not been unlocked, they still have standard operating procedures for identifying and treating medical concerns.

Why we would want SEO standards

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
In-house SEO for a private travel company with great success. Has been influential in developing and building a niche travel directory and search engine. I enjoy learning and sharing information on my blog, to others in an effort to build relevant, content driven websites with the user in mind.
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